Shanghai (AFP) – Shanghai Shenhua will withhold Qin Sheng’s salary for the season as their chairman threatened Tuesday to drop the China international for the rest of his career after his “abominable” stamping on Belgium’s Axel Witsel.
Qin received a straight red card for stamping on the left foot of Tianjian Quanjian’s Witsel as they waited for a corner to be taken in Saturday’s bad-tempered encounter.
Qin faces a likely three-game Chinese Super League ban for receiving his marching orders, but the club have come down even harder, slapping Qin with a 300,000 yuan ($43,380) fine — a huge sum for many Chinese footballers who do not command the inflated salaries of their foreign teammates.
They have dropped him to the reserve squad and withheld his salary for the rest of the year with the player only receiving a basic living allowance, according to a team announcement Monday.
“This abominable behaviour, which is a personal, serious violation of regulations and sports ethics, has had a huge negative impact on the club and even Chinese football as a whole,” the club statement said.
Shanghai Shenhua club chairman Wu Xiaohui told Chinese media there was no question of Qin being able to escape his punishment via a transfer to another club.
“We will not let someone who hurt the club’s image and interests to leave the club and reap personal benefit elsewhere,” Wu was quoted as saying.
And a furious Wu had a message for Qin. “Correct yourself and make a fresh start,” he said, adding that only atoning through good behaviour might allow him to return to the first team.
Otherwise, Wu said he would “laze away the next four years on the reserve team, and then leave the team at the age of 35”.
Qin issued an apology via his Twitter-like Weibo official account.
“In the previous game, I displayed severely irrational behaviour, causing an injury to an opponent, affecting the team’s result and creating a negative impression,” he said on Sunday.
He called his actions “vulgar”, vowed to make amends and said he accepted all punishments handed down by the club.
AFP was not able to confirm Qin’s salary but Chinese media reports estimate it at around five million yuan ($723,000) per year.
It is similar to what his new Shenhua teammate Carlos Tevez is reported to earn per week, according to media in his native Argentina, making him the world’s highest salaried player.
Many Weibo users leapt to Qin’s defence, saying a fine was in order but that withholding his entire salary was excessive.
“I think the punishment is a bit heavy. If a foreign player committed this kind of malicious foul how would the club deal with that? I feel domestic players are vulnerable,” said one user.
Down to 10 men after 24 minutes because of Qin’s dismissal, Shenhua took a 74th minute lead through Gio Moreno.
But it was Witsel who popped up with the equaliser 10 minutes later in Saturday’s Super League match which ended 1-1 after Quanjian’s Brazil star Alexandre Pato blazed an 88th-minute penalty over the bar.